Greetings and Salutations my friends,
“Szczescie jest pomiedzy ustami i brzegiem kielicha” (Happiness is between the lips and the rim of a glass.) – Annie Stangel, member of Welcome to Thursdays and of proud Polish roots.
I love that Polish proverb, and what better time to use it then now! We travel this Thursday to Falcon Bowl, a lively tavern, bowling alley, and banquet hall. The Falcon also plays a huge role within its neighborhood and city, as it is home to Nest 725. This nest belongs to the Polish Falcons of America, one of the largest Polish-American organizations with over 21,000 members nationwide! Starting roughly around 1867, the Polish Falcons have had quite the history full of challenge and hardships; but through it all, the White Eagle (the Polish Coat of Arms) is flying high as ever. Poland is full of amazing history and culture, but one story that has simply blown this writer’s mind is the story of Wojtek (pronounced Voytek): the first ever enlisted bear that served in the Polish Army.
Yes, you read that right: the Polish Army enlisted a bear. This was no ordinary bear, standing at over six feet tall and weighing over 500 pounds, this bear was not one to trifle with. He was a bear of great taste as well. You see Wojtek obviously had no use for money, as he was a bear. Thus he worked for the next best thing, or in this writers opinion the absolute best thing: Old Milwaukee. One polish soldier even said “He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of Old Milwaukee, he drank like any man.”
For an ice cold can a day, Wojtek followed his Polish brethren to Italy where he served with the 22nd Artillery Supply Company in 1942. He helped with various tasks such as moving crates of ammunition, but soon saw himself becoming quite the celebrity with the locals and anyone visiting. Today Wojtek is still celebrated throughout Poland; he even has a statue erected in his honor in Krakow. I feel that Thursday night is as good a night as ever to raise a glass and drink one for Wojtek: the fighting bear of Poland.
Pozdrów moich znajomych (Cheers my friends)!
Your Co-Founder and Friend,
*Keeping your glass filled and spirits high one Thursday at a time, this is Welcome to Thursdays: a local social group determined to make your Thursdays more fun. Each Wednesday, The Squeaky Curd features a fictitious history of a Milwaukee County bar that we gather at on Thursday evening. Join us this Thursday, April 6, 2017 at Falcon Bowl located at 801 E Clarke St (Riverwest) at 7:30pm.*